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This Is What It Looks Like When Dozens Of Clergy And Faith Leaders Get Arrested For Protesting Obama’s Deportations

By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee  

"This Is What It Looks Like When Dozens Of Clergy And Faith Leaders Get Arrested For Protesting Obama’s Deportations"

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CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly three dozen bishops, church leaders, and undocumented immigrants were arrested Monday in front of the White House for protesting President Obama’s record on deportation. Advocates urged Obama to use executive action to halt deportations before his administration deports its two millionth immigrant, a milestone he is expected to reach in the spring.

Police cordoned off the sidewalk on the north side of the White House before giving three warnings and arresting 32 advocates for civil disobedience. The group was organized by the United Methodist Church (UMC) and National Day Laborer Organizer Network (NDLON) and consisted of various faith leaders, immigration advocates, and undocumented immigrants from Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Connecticut.

A prepared NDLON press release urged the President to halt all deportations using “time honored forms of Administrative relief such as deferred action, TPS for vulnerable populations, parole, administrative closure, a stay of deportation, or order of supervision.”

Laura Sanango, a legal immigrant from Ecuador with undocumented family members, said to ThinkProgress that she was “willing to get arrested” because “we don’t want any more families to be broken apart … it’s a good cause. My father and my daughter are here supporting me.”

Laura Sanango (left), who has undocumented family members, waits with her family for police to arrest her during a civil disobedience protest in front of the White House.

Laura Sanango (left), who has undocumented family members, waits with her family for police to arrest her during a civil disobedience protest in front of the White House.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee

Bishop Julius C. Trimble also said that he was not looking forward to getting arrested, but “it’s something that’s necessary to bring the seriousness of the matter to the broader public.”

Bishop Julius C. Trimble (center) prays as he waits for police to arrest him.

Bishop Julius C. Trimble (center) prays as he waits for police to arrest him.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee

Prior to his arrest, UMC’s Director of Civil and Human Rights Bill Mefford said that Obama was not keeping his promise to deport serious immigrant offenders. Mefford said, “they’re clearly not prioritizing because there aren’t two million people who are a threat to the United States so we want to stop right now entirely. We have to focus on how we’re going to legislate instead of who we’re going to deport.”

United Methodist Church's Director of Civil and Human Rights Bill Mefford (right) was arrested for protesting deportations in front of the White House.

United Methodist Church’s Director of Civil and Human Rights Bill Mefford (right) was arrested for protesting deportations in front of the White House.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee

NDLON previously filed a petition with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to formally request the President to grant a stay of deportation to all undocumented immigrants as he had in 2012 with some undocumented youths between the ages of 15 and 31. In the past, House Democrats wrote letters to the President to ask him to stop deportations.

The President has thus far been resistant to grant deportation relief and instead focused on urging Congress to take up reform, even in piecemeal status. Exempting people from deportation, even temporarily as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program does, would not only test the limits of Obama’s executive power, but perhaps also thwart efforts of pushing a bipartisan bill through the House. Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have already panned Obama for pushing the limits of the executive branch by using his executive order to create the DACA program.

Here are some more photos from the protest:

Police prepare plastic handcuffs to use on faith leaders and undocumented protesters.

Police prepare plastic handcuffs to use on faith leaders and undocumented protesters.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee

Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley- Rea (second from right) and other immigration advocates kneel on towels in front of the White House to pray for the President to stop deportations.

Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley- Rea (second from right) and other immigration advocates kneel on towels in front of the White House to pray for the President to stop deportations.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee

Herminia Gallego Lopez is beginning a hunger strike to protest her daughter's detention in Arizona.

Herminia Gallego Lopez is beginning a hunger strike to protest her daughter’s detention in Arizona.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee

Bishop Minerva Carcano was arrested and put in a police van.

Bishop Minerva Carcano was arrested and put in a police van.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee

Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network, poses for a mug shot after getting arrested. Carolan fasted for 13 days last year to bring attention to the need for immigration reform.

Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network, poses for a mug shot after getting arrested. Carolan fasted for 13 days last year to bring attention to the need for immigration reform.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee

A church leader gets arrested for protesting deportations in front of the White House.

A church leader gets arrested for protesting deportations in front of the White House.

CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee

‹ 46 Percent Of Americans Would Punish Politicians Who Block Immigration Reform, Poll Finds

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